I hid it well from you social media places, so well, that my own mother called me Sunday night asking if M had been gone all weekend because the only thing I posted was a screen shot of M’s flight minutes from landing. I think I did fairly well. But now that he is home, I will tell you all about my “girl’s weekend.”
The last time I stayed alone with my kids (I am pretty wimpy and usually ask a grandmother to come and help) was when M had five on campus interviews in one month. I had an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old at the time, and it got pretty tiring. I am pretty sure that I went over to my closest friends house everyday that he was gone (she had same aged children). But by the fifth interview (which was three nights and four whole days), I asked my generous mother-in-law to come help. I am very aware that many wives have husbands who travel far more than my own, and I am in awe of all of you. I really am. But I made a happy discovery this weekend, and that was that a 5 year old, an almost 4 year old, and an almost 2 year old are actually easier to take care of and more enjoyable to be with than a 3 and 1 year old. We had a lot of fun this weekend. Though I did some simple things to make it easier on myself.
1. I did all my weekly chores before M left town. The only housework left was putting some laundry away, three meals a day, dishes. This made things easy peasy. Plus, with my home school schedule I am in the habit of keeping up with the dishes throughout the day.
2. Our regular schedule. While our regular schedule has daily conveniences, I always appreciate it more when we are outside of the normal. M being gone is not normal, but that does not effect our morning routine, lunch time, afternoon nap/quiet time, dinner prep time, dinner time, dinner clean up, and bedtime routine. Things just fell into place, and the kids are so accustomed to them that F (1) practically gets herself ready for nap (well not really, but she switches from running away from me laughing to laying quietly falling asleep in about three minutes, so yeah, routine). Also, nap time for me was completely unproductive besides internet roaming. But I think that was acceptable given my low key plans for the weekend.
3. Getting out everyday, and knowing my limits. I made sure to see other adults everyday, but to not overdo the outings. While little kids are fairly entertaining if you just take time to be with them, seeing familiar adults helps with sanity. I am pretty sure it not natural for women to be alone all day with kids (and no one around until their husbands are done working), but it is not entirely foreign to the history of womankind either. Just look at the pioneer ladies alone on in the claim shanties for days on end. We had our co-op the first day, a playdate/lunch date with another conference-widow the second day, and went to Mass on Sunday. I am particularly impressed with my ability to get myself and the kids up and ready for our normal 7:30 AM EF Mass on time. It makes me think that I am getting used to this three-kid thing.
4. Easy food. Our dinner’s were so simple, which meant few dishes. I even asked G (5) to help me with the clean up and she happily filled in as she could. I was particularly impressed when she volunteered to finish the broccoli so that we did not have to save it. She looked just like her father finishing off the last few bites off the serving spoon.
I had such a good time with the girls that I found myself a bit lonely after they went to bed at night, though one night I spent on Skype with my sisters monitoring the Cardinal’s loss in game one of the NLCS. I prepared myself to not stress out, and I did it! I don’t really want to do it again any time soon, but I am glad to know that I can. Further, I think a weekend with just the girls was a good relationship building experience for us. I spent meals talking to them, listening to them, telling them stories. We went for walks together. We played games together. I think they had a good time as well, though having M home is much better.
(And just to put a funny image in your head, imagine 15 philosophers, after a four course dinner and multiple glasses of wine a piece, sightseeing around the Mall in D.C. at Midnight…and texting their spouses random shots of the monuments)